Elliott named interim dean of Emory College

Emory Report | Aug. 16, 2016

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Almost two decades ago, Michael Elliott joined the Emory faculty as an English professor, drawn by the University's strong commitment to both teaching and research. Now he is taking the helm of Emory College as interim dean. Emory Photo/Video

Almost two decades ago, Michael A. Elliott joined the Emory faculty as an English professor, drawn by the University's strong commitment to both teaching and research. Now he is taking the helm of Emory College as interim dean.

"I feel deeply honored to serve in this role, and I'm excited to have the chance to work with faculty and staff who are so devoted to our students and this academic community," says Elliott, Winship Distinguished Research Professor in English and American Studies.

"This is an important moment for the College," he notes. "Our faculty has worked hard with Robin Forman to pursue our aspirations for Emory as a leading liberal arts university — and it's a privilege to be able to continue that work."

Forman, who has served as dean of Emory College since 2010, will become senior vice president and provost of Tulane University, effective Sept. 1.

Emory President-Elect Claire Sterk announced Aug. 15 that Elliott has been named interim dean, effective immediately. Elliott's new role will "ensure a seamless and successful transition" for Emory College as the new academic year gets underway, Sterk says. In partnership with Interim Provost Stuart Zola, she is committed to the College as the core of the liberal arts at Emory. 

"Michael Elliott is a proven leader who cares deeply about students and faculty. Throughout his career, he has had a tremendous impact on Emory. He is respected across the University. I'm excited that he will be leading the College in this interim role," says Sterk, adding that a search for a permanent dean will begin in the coming weeks.

Focus on engagement

Since joining Emory in 1998, Elliott has taken on a variety of leadership roles while continuing to work closely with students and advance his own scholarship, which focuses on the literature and culture of the United States from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century. He was honored with the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008.

"When I came to Emory as an assistant professor, a couple of things struck me immediately," recalls Elliott, who holds a PhD from Columbia University in English and comparative literature. "First, Emory is a place that takes both its research and teaching missions seriously in a way that few institutions can match.

"Second, Emory is place of enormous creativity, in its student body, in its staff and in its faculty," he continues. "This is a place where it's usually possible to try something new or change something dramatically without letting the weight of tradition get in the way."

Elliott helped lead Emory College as senior associate dean of faculty from December 2009 to July 2014, with responsibilities including academic planning and program evaluation; faculty hiring, development, tenure, promotion and retention; working with the Emory College development team; and more.

In August 2014, he became executive associate dean for Emory College, where he coordinated the work of senior associate deans with leadership in Emory College operations, including finance and human resources; played a central role in the College's self-study and external review process; and acted as a liaison to units such as the Office of the Provost, Laney Graduate School and administrative units on campus.

"Dean Forman worked with the faculty during the last year on a strategic planning process, and we are now going to turn to the work of refining and implementing that plan. There is a lot of momentum in the College right now, and we are going to continue to be ambitious," Elliott says.